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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                      15  August 2011

False duty stamps crackdown in Indonesia

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As part of efforts to meet its revised Rp 115 trillion (US$13.5 billion) customs and excises collection target, the Finance Ministry is stepping up the fight against duty stamp counterfeiting.

“We try to stop leakages from the revenue side, with intelligence activities [and] with better enforcement,” Agung Kuswandono, the Finance Ministry’s director general for customs and excise, told reporters on Friday.

Agung also announced that the directorate had broken up a fake duty stamp syndicate in Jakarta on August 6 and 7.

Officers seized 801,450 fake 2011 duty stamps for cigarettes, five printing plates, 170 empty sheets of paper and a machine for hologram printing.

Four people were arrested in various locations in the capital.

Agung said that this busted syndicate alone might have cost the state a fortune in losses.

“This is quite big. It cost the state Rp 2.7 billion each time they ran their printing operation. In total, [the syndicate] has caused a total of Rp 576 billion in losses to the state in the first six months [of this year],” he said.

Despite some syndicates producing their bogus duty stamps in big cities — especially in Jakarta — packs of cigarette that feature the forged stamps are often found in rural areas, where supervision is less strict.

However, often not only the stamps but also the cigarettes themselves are counterfeited, with market-leading brands being forgers’ favorites.

Agung said that the bust earlier this month was the third successful operation of his directorate against duty-stamp forgers so far this year.

As of July, the customs and excise directorate had collected Rp 74.1 trillion. In the revised 2011 state budget, its collection target was raised by 35 percent

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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